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Eight St. Joseph Gang Members Charged in Federal Indictment

Friday, January 13, 2017 13:18
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Violent Gang Charged with Murder, Armed Robbery, Drug Trafficking
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that eight members of a violent St. Joseph, Mo., gang have been charged in a RICO indictment that alleges they committed murder, five attempted murders, drug trafficking and armed robberies, among other crimes, as part of a criminal enterprise.
Victor Matias-Torres, also known as “Papo” and “King Fenese,” 35, Luis Alfredo Villegas-Rosa, also known as “Puerto Rico,” and “Rico,” 28, his brother, Luis Gabriel Villegas-Rosa, also known as “Conan,” 35, Angel Antonio Martinez-Torres, also known as “Tony,” 37, Angel Rios-Rosa, also known as “Gato,” 30, Jose Morales-Delgado, also known as “Beto,” 32, Luis Calderon-Oliveras, 26, and Ismael Marquez, 29, all of St. Joseph, were charged in a 34-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. The indictment was unsealed and made public today upon the arrests and initial court appearances of Luis Gabriel Villegas-Rosa and Morales-Delgado. Several defendants are already in custody in separate state cases.
The racketeering indictment alleges that all eight of the defendants were involved in a conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). According to the indictment, the criminal enterprise, which began in 2010, was led by Matias-Torres, formerly a high-ranking member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation. Matias-Torres’s gang allegedly engaged in acts of violence, including murder and attempted murder, armed assault, armed robbery, extortion and witness intimidation. The gang allegedly trafficked in heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
Although the gang was based in St. Joseph, the indictment says, it also operated in Kansas, Iowa and Massachusetts, among other places, and recruited many of its members and associates from Puerto Rico. (Matias-Torres, the Villegas-Rosa brothers, Martinez-Torres, Rios-Rosa, Morales-Delgado, Calderon-Oliveras and Marquez are all citizens of the United States.)
According to the federal indictment, Matias-Torres directed the illicit operations of the gang and carried out much of the criminal activity himself. Matias-Torres, the indictment says, was a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, which he joined in Philadelphia, Penn., in 2003, then rose to the leadership position of First Crown for the region. Matias-Torres moved to St. Joseph in 2010. Although members of the St. Joseph gang were often referred to as Latin Kings, the enterprise was not formally affiliated with the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation.
The indictment alleges that members of the enterprise enriched themselves and funded their operations with the proceeds of drug trafficking, robbery, burglary and extortion. They allegedly targeted rival drug dealers for robbery, not only to obtain the robbery proceeds, but to eliminate and deter competition in the drug trade and, at times, to extort a financial stake in future drug sales from the rival by offering “protection.” Members of the enterprise allegedly also extorted money from innocent victims by offering “protection” from future robberies and acts of violence.
Matias-Torres’s gang operated under a loose code of conduct, the indictment says, which included a requirement that Matias-Torres pre-approve certain criminal activity and that he receive a portion of the proceeds of the illegal activity, whether or not he participated. According to the indictment, members who did not follow the rules or who were perceived as disloyal to the enterprise, were confronted with acts of violence.
Leaders and members of the enterprise, according to the indictment, promoted a climate of fear in the community through repeated waves of gunfire, beatings and destruction of property, among other crimes of violence and intimidation.
Murder of John O. Baynham, Jr.
The indictment alleges that Luis Alfredo Villegas-Rosa murdered John O. Baynham, Jr., on Feb. 5, 2015, in St. Joseph, in aid of racketeering (Villegas-Rosa was convicted of the murder in a separate state case). The indictment also charges Villegas-Rosa with one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and one count of murder resulting from the use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Murder Conspiracy: Attack on Co-Conspirator #3
The indictment alleges that Morales-Delgado, Calderon-Oliveras and Marquez (as well as other members of the gang) conspired to murder an individual identified as “Co-Conspirator #3.” Marquez allegedly fired shots at Co-Conspirator #3 on Sept. 10, 2012, in Estherville, Iowa. Sometime after that, Morales-Delgado met with Matias-Torres. All four men are charged with participating in a conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering. In addition to the murder conspiracy, Morales-Delgado, Calderon-Oliveras and Marquez are also charged together in one count of assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Murder Conspiracy: Attack on Rival #1
The indictment alleges that Matias-Torres and the Villegas-Rosa brothers, along with other members of the gang, conspired to murder an individual identified as “Rival #1.” Luis Alfredo Villegas-Rosa allegedly fired gunshots at Rival #1 on Sept. 15, 2013, in St. Joseph. In addition to the murder conspiracy, all three men are charged together with one count of assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering and with discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Attempted Murder: Attack on Victim #1
The indictment alleges that Luis Gabriel Villegas-Rosa attempted to murder an individual identified as “Victim #1.” Luis Gabriel Villegas-Rosa is charged with one count of assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Matias-Torres is charged with one count of participating in a conspiracy to tamper with a victim and one count of victim tampering. Matias-Torres and others allegedly threatened Victim #1 in January 2016 to intimidate him into withholding information about the attack from federal law enforcement investigators. Matias-Torres is also charged with one count of being an accessory after the fact for assisting Luis Gabriel Villegas-Rosa in January 2016 in order to hinder and prevent his trial and punishment for the attack.
Attempted Murder: Attack on Rival #2
The indictment alleges that Martinez-Torres attempted to murder an individual identified as “Rival #2” on Sept. 27, 2014, in St. Joseph. Martinez-Torres is charged with one count of assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Attempted Murder: Attack on a Disloyal Member
The indictment alleges that Matias-Torres attempted to murder Angel Antonio Martinez-Torres on April 3, 2016, in St. Joseph in order to maintain his leadership position in the criminal enterprise. Matias-Torres is charged with one count of assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy
The indictment alleges that, since 2011, Matias-Torres, Luis Alfredo Villegas-Rosa, Martinez-Torres, Morales-Delgado and Marquez, along with other members of the enterprise, distributed more than one kilogram of heroin, five kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 50 kilograms or more of marijuana. They are charged together in one count of participating in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Matias-Torres and Martinez-Torris are each also charged with one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Business Robberies
The indictment alleges that Matias-Torres and other gang members robbed five local businesses.
Matias-Torres and Morales-Delgado are charged with conspiracy and the robbery of Best Way check-cashing establishment at 4915 King Hill Ave., on June 29, 2012. Matias-Torres is also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in relation to the robbery. Matias-Torres and Calderon-Oliveras are charged with conspiracy and the robbery of Sack-N-Save grocery store at 4913 Lake Ave., on Sept. 28, 2012.
Matias-Torres and Rios-Rosa are charged in three separate conspiracies to rob local check-cashing establishments: Money On Time at 2243 N. Belt Hwy., on Dec. 28, 2012; Check Into Cash at 3302 N. Belt Hwy., on Jan. 19, 2013; and King of Kash at 2308 N. Belt Hwy., on Jan. 25,2013. In addition to the conspiracies, Rios-Rosa is charged with robbing Check Into Cash and King of Kash.
Additional Firearms Charges
Matias-Torres is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Matias-Torres allegedly was in possession of a Jimenez Arm 9mm pistol on Feb. 9, 2016.
Villegas-Rosa is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Villegas-Rosa allegedly was in possession of a Taurus .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol on Feb. 5, 2015.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick C. Edwards, David Raskin and Emily A. Orsinger. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department and the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

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